27-05-13

The Winged Dragon of Amenra

Went to see Oathbreaker and Amenra last night. At STUK, Leuven. Sold out. Lotsa people. Most of them older than me. Most of the wearing black clothes. Most of them hating life, probably.

So Oathbreaker started and THEY STARTED VERY LOUD THEY ARE A VERY LOUD BAND. But sometimes they kick it back anotch as well and create musical intermezzos to leave to audience eagerly awaiting that one moment WHEN THEY GO INTO FULLBLAST MODUS AGAIN. And then DO THING like this WERE YOU don't realloy know WHEN to exPECT what they're GONNA play and it really cool. They Played a new song which started out with a quiet part and even some actual singing as opposed to the COSTUMARY SCREAMING THAT IS HABITUAL FOR SUCH BANDS and they pulled it off. Album's gonna drop this summer apparently. I've only heard snibbets of MAELSTROM THE LAST ALBUM THEY PUT OUT, but from what I've heard live they've definitely developped their own sound now. Whereas the first TIME I HEARD THE THEY KINDA SOUNDED LIKE A RISE AND FALL RIPOFF they now sound like a proper band, which is cool. Insane riffs, they share their guitar player with Amenra and he's pretty damn amazing.


Big up for the Dutch guy who said "Wat een lam publiek hier, 't lijkt Nederland wel" for making me laugh.

Amenra is the scholar example of a cultband. They have everything figured out, from the music, to the artwork, the aesthetics, the live performance. It's all perfectly tuned together to create a band the like of which the world has never seen the like of which*. A guitarist starts playing. Immediately the crowd is focused and Amenra is in the picture. Suddenly, EVERYTHING IS SET ABLAZE, THE SONG BURSTS INTO THE LOUDEST SONG EVER AND THERE'S HEADBANGING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. I've never seen so many short-haired people headbang, I think. AMENRA CONTINUES UNDISTURBEDLY AND PLAYS A SET OF all kinds of songs that I don't know cause I rarely really listen to them. But they sure AS HELL CAN WIN ME OVER FOR A LIVE SHOW once in a while. It's been a couple years since I've seen THEM PLAY, SO IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE ONCE AGAIN. Even though tickets were 16 euros. As I've said, perfect cultband, no talking in between songs, no thankyou's, no we'reamenra's, no buyourmerch's. They stick to their shtick and they do it extraordinarily well. Of course, the main attraction is THE MUSIC, WHICH WAS SLUDGY GOODNESS THAT IS DIFFICULT TO NOT BANG YER HEAD TO.

Although I must say I totally zoned out for the last 2 songs, like unconsciously watched them but with my head in another place. So yeah, I thought it was a bit too long but I'm not used to this kind of music. I like 2-minute pop punk songs and 1-minute hardcore songs. 7-minute sludge songs are harder for me to focus on.



*Thumbs up for who got that reference.

26-05-13

French cries

There's a brand new band from the wonderful country of France that I'd like to introduce to you. They're called Buried Option and they are from Orléans. Pretty wicked, huh?
Oh, and it's free for download!

Buried Option - Save Yourself (DIY, 2013)

1. To Oscar
2. Delta Position
3. Needs
4. Perfectly Buried






Buried Option claims to be influenced by the melodic punk rock and hardcore of the 1990s, and you betcha they are! Track 1, To Oscar, starts with a old school bass riff and the whole song, from riffs to the vocals from time to time reminds me of a Hot Water Music song or Four Minute Mile-era Get Up Kids. It's a demo so it's all a bit raw, but I hope they keep that raw edge in later recordings, cause it really is a vital element of the likeability of this sound. I'm not trying to sound like a tr00 p0nx here by saying polished recordings are not cool, but this kind of slightly-shouty 90s-emo-influenced punk rock just begs for a straight-up honest, sincere, pure and hence not overproduced recording.
Back to the music then. This demo contains some obvious influences from other bands that the band should consider developing, but I generally like it. It's a kind of music I like so they do nothing wrong. It's kind of a safe demo. But, as I've learned from experience, never judge a book by its cover and never judge a band by its demo. What is it that does or could set Buried Option apart? Well, for one, they don't have a terrible accent as some French bands tend to have. The use of creative melody, the construction and dynamics of their songwriting (like in Needs particularly), and the alleged versatility of their small repertoire.
Perfectly Buried closes the demo and is an instrumental. It starts out as 90s emo as it gets, genre American Football, Cap'n Jazz, Mineral.You know, the whole twingy-twangy guitar thing. It develops into a full-blown instrumental of reasonably epic proportions. Probably my favourite track on the demo.

See, I'm not wild about this, but it's okay. It's better than a lot of bands these days, but I really hope they search into their own capabilities and creativity. There's too many parts I've heard before a couple of times and that kinda reduces my direct interest and enthusiasm in the band.
On the other hand, the style of music they want to play, they perform it really good, and the band helps to revive the feeling I had when I first listened to bands like Hot Water Music or Jawbreaker, and fits in with contemporaries like Spanish Gamble or Timeshares. I think.
I'm pretty excited for what they have in store.

24-05-13

Tombas

The time has come for me to review a record. This is a record I like a lot. It's by a band I like a lot. It's by a band I've given quite a lot of attention lately, and in my opinion it's all deserved.
My favourite hardcore record/EP of 2013 so far:

Outline - Tombs (Fortyweight Records, 2013)

1. Intro
2. Still To Come
3. Statues
4. Inner Pride
5. Tombs
6. Final Call




The only negative remark I have about this EP is that it's too short.

No, I'm just kidding, that must be the most cliché line in EP-review-history.
This isn't even too short, actually. This fills the spot suite well. I have no idea how long it is except that it's one side of a 12" record. So, let's say, 14 minutes? That's enough for now. I've heard they have a split coming out late 2013/early 2014 so then we can hear more songs. Hooray!
So let's get into this record. Tombs starts with an intro. Well, I'll be damned! That's new! Nah, I'm a fan of intros, particularly on hardcore records. And this one is the perfect introduction to Outline. Mid-paced, palm-mutes, high-end riffage, a disgustingly raw bass, headbangworthy drums and a general atmosphere of impending doom. Like most hardcore acts, Outline aren't the most cheerful dudes when they play music. It's all pretty gloomy. But don't worry. It speeds up.
Just like that *snaps finger*.
Still To Come blasts right at you and sends you into anger-mode 2.0. Outline is angry. No joke. Still To Come is a fast jam about Rikkerd's house-fixing activities I think, and how things don't always work out the way you expect them to. How you have to work for your goals and how difficult it is to trust other people with your intentions. I think. The riffage on this one is excellent and the tempo change mid-song is primo mosh material. With just one guitar the second verse sounds a bit hollow as Pie plays an arpeggiated melody (is arpeggiated a word?), but Petit on the bass and drummer Ari kinda back that up. Furthermore, I think the sole guitar in this band can stand his ground quite well.
The record is self-recorded, self-mixed and self-mastered at Ari's home-studio. So yes, the recordings sound pretty rough sometimes, but it's hardcore, it's not supposed to be polished. It sounds pure and angry. Good enough for me. On top of that it's self-released by Petit's record label Fortyweight Records. Safe to say these guys like to hold on to what they do.
Anyway, the main riff in Statues is another example of tyPiecal riffage (see what I did there?) and is a bit of a hit song. It was the first song to go online and probably the catchiest song on the record. Rikkerd sounds super pissed off on this one as well, rad. Fuck your status. Rad. Great sing-along parts as well, and cool backing vocals. The end makes me wanna be mad at people for no reason. The needle on my record, which is a beautiful green vinyl by the way, transcends into the lingering intro of Inner Pride, only to burst out in a slow headbang-inducing jam about standing up for yourself and letting others fuck you around. Once again a climatic outro that just exhales anger, both musically and vocally.
Tombs is the politically charged tune on the record. With a opening line as Learn. Repeat. Don't ever resist the chains. it's failrly obvious. Of course, it's not all the way political, but I feel the other songs are thematically way more personal than this one. As all the other songs, this one's over pretty quick as well. The term "no-nonsense" is definitely applicabel to an Outline record. It's not ignorant, cause there are really clever riffs, song developments, drum patterns and instrumental fills.
Final Call is easily my favourite song on Tombs. The pounding intro with Rikkerd screaming his lungs out drives me up the wall. The lyrics are really good and deal once again with personal trust issues or something along those lines. I could be wrong, I'm no Sigmund Freud, right? The guitar part at the end, when it's like This is my final call. Our getaway. and it goes duduuuuu/duduuuu I'm like FUCK.

General musical similarities can be found in Dead Hearts, Carry On and Verse. Bands that were the shizz 10 years ago and now do reunions (except for Carry On). I want to give some more contemporary acts are probably similar but I can only think of bands that are broken up already, like Ritual or Killing The Dream.

But, yeah, get into this before it's 2023 and you're all like "man, remember the 2010's? there were such cool bands back then."

23-05-13

"Where can I find a beer?"

Last Sunday was moshday once again. THis time at Panique D'O, Mechelen, with the cream of the cream of Belgian hardcore and a French straight-edge band.

I missed the first band, I Am Legendary Robot. No biggie. They're described as "8-bit Metal / Nintendocore". I'll pass, thanks.

Then, Every Stranger Looks Like You. It's been a whole while since I've seen them play, they've released an awesome EP in the meantime and that new song they played was heavy as fuck. Rad band, rad peepz, très bien!

Outline played next. I love Outline. With every bone in my body. Especially my dickbone. Ehm... They played a good show. I awkwardly crowdsurfed for a moment at the end.

Ashes is still brutal as fuck. Nothing else to say except that they are a cool band with cool dudes.

Dead End Sin was cool. I'm halfway into their stuff, and halfway out of it.

Didn't see xDigx. Sorry guys.


Good hangouts, good Sunday night.

17-05-13

una dei Ramones

Pop punk show. Wednesday. Dilbeek.
Who the fuck is going to go there?
Well, fucking no one apparently.

The Ponches and Riccobellis played for an audience of a couple Italians, 8-ish Dilbeek punx and me. Sucks.

Anyway, the Ponches were pretty good. I like their songs, they had some energy going, it was a fun show. They played a Ramones cover called I Don't Wanna Be Learned/I Don't Wanna Be Tamed.

Same goes for the Riccobellis, really. Ramones-inspired pop punk. Bop punk, if you will. Fun show, couldn't stay till the very end cause I had train issues.
The train was late so I could've stayed but I did not know this.

That's it.

16-05-13

Busted

So, there has been a Still Bust/Thekidisfirworks tour going on. Did any of you notice that? Two British band invading our beautiful continent? Anyone? A sense of danger? A sense of proximate death, luring with every kilometer/mile they drove through Europe?
No, I didn't either, these guys are super nice and play super good music. Nothing to worry about.

I saw them two nights in a row. Let me rephrase that, I had the pleasure to see them two nights in a row. I had the privilege, I had the honor, I had the boner to see them two nights in a row. Yes.

First night was Rockcafé show in Leuven, organised by Kickass Records. Initially worried about the lack of promotion and lack of people who would show up, it ended up pretty alright.

Thekidisfireworks` played first. I guess their space bar broke down when they created the name. Or they forget how to write multi-word phrases. Or they just thought it looked cool. Anyway, the name doesn't matter.
They fucked up the intro and laughed it away. No biggie. Apparently that happened a lot. Everything else, in general, was pretty really good. Definitely not flawless, but it was a delight to watch and hear them play. They have a very distinct sound that reminded me of Dangers, The Bronx and A Wilhelm Scream perhaps. There were the crazy guitar riffs, the rhythmic assaults, the singalong parts, the "stop-playing-and-shout-a-catchy-phrase" parts and it all was really cool. And the award for best songtitle of the past few years goes to Unicorn On The Cob. That made me laugh harder than it should have. Nice one.

Then it was up to Still Bust (or is it Stillbust? I don't know) to set the room on fire. Or whatevz. They did good. They did real good. Solid show, mostly, if not exclusively, songs from their new record A Few Things We Might Agree On (A Few Thing We Might Not), which also contains a contender for the songtitle award with If You Don't Like Video games (You Might have Other Interests). Rad show.
It was mainly English blokes going nuts to a Welsh band and then the other way around, but I, and the other attendants, did thoroughly enjoy their music. Very neat. Very "cool". Very "punx". Very ""hard""core"".

The Decline also played, who are this Australian skatepunk band that are apparently pretty cool. They were pretty damn cool. Welp. Can't really remember properly. Sorry, Australians! It's good to know you still exist!
I may have danced a tad? I think the British dudes did the typical UK pyramid thingy. It was a fun show, my memory just fails to recover what music they played and what was going on.

I might need to update faster in the future, so I don't have those problems all too much.

------

Anyway, the next show was the next day, a day called Tuesday, for those who still use that whole "week"-system.

Mechelen, Panique D'o. Panique for short.

After a nice pre-show hangout and the acquisition of a full crate of beer, Thekidisfireworks fired their works off once again. In the same way as Monday, they fucked up the intro and then just went full force into it. Fun show, it was their last of the tour as well so extra fun? Maybe. I bought a shirt, like I had promised the day before. It has a dog on it. It's real cool. Great dudes.

After their show I did a rather embarrassing/awesome (I can't decide) MC Karel live show. It was the first time I actually performed a set, with just a guitar, and it was super cool. I also fucked up the intro, in honor of TKIF. The rest was alright, except for the regular fuck-up, but that's all part of the act. "Good intentions, bad results."
Also, since I was a performing act Rikkerd hooked me up with a crate of beer from the venue. A whole crate. Holy fuck. Beers for everyone!

Still Bust killed it once again. I think everyone decided this was really good and a last chance to party for now so things got a bit crazy, which was super much fun. Proof that you don't need a big crowd to have a big party. You just need a couple nutcases that like to fuck shit up to good music.

Whoo! Check out those bands and all, they're real cool!

15-05-13

It's all about perspective.

Sunday moshday. That's a common concept, right. Last Sunday the concept became all too clear for me. Perspective Records/Bookings/Whatever had set up a second edition of the grand Perspective Fest. The wheater was pretty lousy but the music was cool. Too cool for school.

First band was Reminders but I missed them because I was not cool enough for school. Domien apparently brought his mom for Mother's Day but I missed her as well. Apparently Reminders is a good band. Goob band.

18 Miles was up next. After a great startout-hangout with lots of familiar faces I went inside to check 'em out. The singer was not feeling very well apparently and his voice wasn't up to scratch, but they played a neat set and I like the band. Hardcore for hardcore kids.

Let me tell you something about hardcore. If there's no punk in the hardcore, I'm probably not gonna like it all too much. I've noticed that. I need a touch of punx in my hardcorez. I need that vibe, the fierceness, I need the riffs.

Ashes played next. It had been a while since I've seen them but they are still the coolest guys around and their band is still pretty amazing. They played some new songs, of which I remember Cursed being absolutely crushingly cool. Great set. I was gonna mosh but I didn't cause I'm not cool enough I think. I did put my hand in the air and sang words/sounds and banged my head and stuff.

Redemption Denied. They're the Belgian representatives on the so-called True Spirit tour volume 1. Really cool for them, and they proobably deserve it. They're a real cool band, they had a good groove, cool breakdowns as far as breakdowns go and it was all pretty cool. But god damn, some of their fans were quite the arsehole. All is fair in love and mosh, but this was ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I like to 'bust out' once in a while too, but I don't go swinging my arms and pushing everyone who just wants to enjoy the show to the back of the venue. Whatever, I could rant about ignorant mosh all I want, it's not gonna make a difference. People all have fun in their own way. Just, try to not have fun at the expense of others?
Band was good by the way, I really enjoyed it.

A Strength Within were up next. One of their very few shows this year. I've seen better shows by them, but okay. Great band, decent show. The new songs sounded promising and they have their hearts in the right places. Leuven hardcore and all that jazzle.



Suddenly, everyone one got collectively hungry or tired and stayed out while Homer was playing. What the fuck dudes. "Support all bands", "keep the scene alive" until there's some band that doesn't fit within the strict margins of chugging hardcore? Makes perfect sense. Maybe I'm overreacting. There were some people interested, and Homer played a great set. They celebrate 15 years of existence this year. Yeah!

I can't really tell you anything specific about World Eater, Risk It or Strength Approach because I am not familiar with either of those bands and they all kind of sounded like regular hardcore. Also my mind was in a further state of intoxication so there's that.
That reminds me, Ferm & Fameus was catering the festival and they make delicious food. All vegan, all yummy. Check 'em out. I spend quite a few euros on their burgers. No regrets. Food rules.

I do remember No Turning Back. Sorta. A staple of the European hardcore scene, finally back in Leuven. I don't give too much of a shit about this band but I can sure appreciate them. Music-wise, pretty standard hardcore. That's not a bad thing. I don't expect innovation from bands like No Turning Back. I expect sincere and heavy stuff. They have some outspoken messages (which Domien didn't fully agree with, by the way, haha) and they put on a solid show. No more, no less.

Show was done on time. I had a lot of fun. Friends. Food. Fartcore.

13-05-13

Cereal

Gotta stop postponing things. I should be working on a thesis, and I am, but it's not going super smooth. I get distracted easily. By punk rock, often.

Last Wednesday was a grand day for Belgian punk rock. The notorious emo outfit Cornflames reunited for second time (after last year's pre-Groezrock show) I think and it was cool.

I missed The Goodluck Party. That was a bummer cause I kinda wanted to see them, but ok.

I did see Off The Charts. Good show. What more can I say? New songs are off the hook. Or should I say, they're off the charts? ba dum tsh

I didn't see Traffico because of pizza time.

Cornflames rules. They played a solid set that didn't bore one moment. You know how some bands stretch out reunion things and play too long? Well, Cornflames didn't. And they were really good. The hits passed, some other songs. To be honest, I'm not so familiar with the œuvre except for the occasional spinning of The Farewell Drive. Stellar live band, though. Really enjoyed the set, and from the looks of what was going on in front, lots of people greatly enjoyed it. Atmosphere was top notch, band was great, beers were good.

Reunions are pretty played out at the moment I don't think anyone knows who's a band or not anymore, but one-off shows like this are always fun, whatever the premises. Cornflames play Funtime Fest too, which I think is kinda funny. And cool.

Next day was a holiday so there was a super valid excuse to get drunk, which I, and many with me, kindly took.

07-05-13

Hug wolf

Remember Apologies, I Have None? That one band that have played here countless times the past year? Yeah, they played again last Sunday. In Beveren. I don't think anyone lives in Beveren. Ghost town.

So, I coincidentally met up with Laura at the station, both buying tickets for the bus to Beveren. Motherfucking Beveren.
Someone had puked in the bus on the last ride, so we had a bit of a setback while the cleaning team of the NMBS came and cleaned the vomit. Thanks!
We had a pretty smooth ride from then on. We got to Beveren pretty quick and no one puked! Success. We took som wrong turns to the venue but ultimately found it and that was great.

The venue, Togenblik, was pretty cool. Great terras, cool stage and just all-round a cool place to do shows.

Lots of friends and the last pieces of sunshine on a Sunday resulted in a nice hangout before the show and partly during the first band. The first band was Forgotten Sailors, who reminded me of the Dutch band The Road Home, which means: young dudes playing an Ataris/Gaslight Anthem hybrid style of punk rock. Cool, but not enough to hold my attention and keep me from having stupid conversations with the punx.

I drank quite a few beers and got really affectionate for some reason. I hugged everyone during the night and everyone was really nice. I just hope I didn't bother people cause it might've been a bit over the top. Sorry.
I love punk and punx more than almost anything else. God forbid if I ever do get a girlfriend. She's gonna have some competition. Primarily male, smelly, ugly and obnoxious competition.

Anyway, Silver & Gold played a set and they ruled. This was the first time I've seen them as a three-piece and it works out fine, man. Solid band, solid songs, solid Undertones cover. I'm really excited for their full length.

Apologies, I Have None played the place apart. Great atmosphere, lots of people dancing and singing along. I almost lost my glasses but decided to put away safe, I almost lost my right earplug but decided to put them away. Lots of people in the air and stuff. Anyway, good set by the British band. I accidentally dropped the guitar player after I tried to lift him up. Major sorry man. Every show I've seen by these fellas has been great and every show is more and more fun. But let's say you make some new songs now, will ya? I'm not tired of the other stuff but I'm really curious what's up next for this band.

 
Also I decided to go to the Fest this year. It was a spontaneous decision that I was never really sure about cause it would be such a hassle, but it just made sense that I would go to the Fest. So now I've bought tickets and I'm siked as fuck.
Weekend Dads, Dillinger Four, Crusades, Lipstick Homicide, Hold Tight!, Mixtapes, The Fake Boys, The Exquisites, The Draft reunion, The Dopamines, and many more.
Another great thing about Sunday night drinking.